One of the biggest challenges that most educators face in the current age of online teaching is assessing students’ retention of course material. Are students interacting meaningfully with the subject in ways they once were in the classroom? One way mastery is assessed is through the teacher’s use of scaffolding to help solidify student learning.
What is Scaffolding?
Builders use scaffolding to temporarily support themselves to complete their building projects. In the same way, teachers also use such supports to help bridge students’ prior knowledge to the unknown. This too is called scaffolding. Moreover, scaffolding is used through a series of educational techniques that seek to deepen the understanding of students. Above all, this technique leads to a greater student independence.
In the classroom, educators often will use scaffolding through calling upon prior knowledge of the topic, modeling the topic, and then asking the student to share or organize their thoughts. For example, some educators will even say, “Now go home and teach your parents what you have learned” – each step aids to solidify student learning.
Knowing your student
Firstly, building close classroom community enables students to feel safe and comfortable to learn, but online teachers have the daunting task of building these communities with technical difficulties, at times. Therefore, scaffolding is most functional and effective when the student’s capabilities and knowledge is known. This is where the help of parents and siblings outside the classroom becomes valuable! As a result, online teachers need the support of families at home.
Scaffolding at ConnectEd
In addition, using a variety of methods that break down students’ learning into manageable chunks is the key to great scaffolding. At ConnectEd, our team seeks to know each student so that they can meet their academic needs. We aim to become the best tutoring platform with the use various tools – practice exams, learning technologies, assignment tracking, group work, mind maps, progress reports, and reinforcement – to solidify student learning.
Tips for Families to Use Scaffolding at Home
Most importantly, scaffolding is meant to be a support. Scaffolding doesn’t do the physical work of building for us. Therefore, families should support and guide. They should not give away answers or hover over their student’s shoulders. Some practical ways to help scaffold classroom subject matter:
- Be patient and take things piece by piece
- Come alongside and offer help when your student seems stuck on something
- Praise accomplishments and milestones
- Model real-life examples related to the subject matter
- Correct mistakes but don’t look for perfection, perfection can discourage growth
- Don’t do your student’s homework for them
- If your student is close, ask clarifying questions in new ways to help them problem solve or refer to prior knowledge
- Remind your student of real-life examples you’ve experienced as a family
Have you used any of these at-home tips? Are there any other tips that you have found helpful while supporting your student’s learning? Don’t forget to subscribe to receive more helpful, educational updates from our ConnectEd community.